Taut Thriller Set in Maine 5 Stars

Winner 2016 New England Book Festival

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The Woman Who Smashed Codes: America’s Secret Weapon in World War II

Longreads

  Jason Fagone | The Woman Who Smashed Codes | Harper Collins| October 2017 | 9 minutes (2,295 words)
 

Below is an excerpt from The Woman Who Smashed CodesJason Fagone’s riveting new book chronicling the work of Elizebeth Smith Friedman and William F. Friedman, a pair of “know-nothings” who invented the science of codebreaking and became the greatest codebreakers of their era. Their contributions continue to influence the U.S. intelligence community to this day. Our thanks to Jason Fagone and Harper Collins for allowing us to share a portion of this book with the Longreads community.

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Sixty years after she got her first job in codebreaking, when Elizebeth was an old woman, the National Security Agency sent a female representative to her apartment in Washington, D.C. The NSA woman had a tape recorder and a list of questions. Elizebeth suddenly craved a…

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Crayon Tinted Embroidery Tutorial

I’ve been doing this for years, my Grandma Viola taught me this technique using crayons and a brown paper bag. I use a lot of line art machine embroidery patterns and make coloring books out of them using stabilizer and give them as gifts. You’ll find your own favorite way. The main thing to remember is “HAVE FUN” and there is no wrong way if it works and you enjoy it. Ila in Maine

SewMod

Do you yearn to pull out those Crayons and relive your grade school days? Well we can! Tinted embroidery is a great way to spruce up those open spaces in a project and add a little color without all the work of filling in spaces with filler stitches like satin stitching.

So go grab your supplies and let’s get started!

Crayons
Embroidery pattern
Pencil or brown .01 Pigma Pen
Pins
Iron
White paper towels
Floss

I’m working on Crabapple Hill’s Which Witch’s Boot.

1) Pin your pattern to your fabric.

2) Using a light box, transfer your pattern using a #2 pencil or Pigma pen. Remove pins and pattern.

3) Using a white Crayon, color heavily the areas that will be tinted with color. If your fabric is pulling, try taping your fabric down.

4) Tint the areas with the Crayons. Use light strokes. Remember we are tinting, not coloring…

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I Heard You Paint Houses Review

I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran and the Inside Story of the Mafia, the Teamsters, and the Final Ride of Jimmy Hoffa by Charles Brandt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Awesome book. There are numerous edits of this book as the author promised Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran not to publish certain things he was told until after certain people died so they would not be prosecuted or hounded by the FBI to roll on others. I understand this decision and admire that his promise was kept.

I highly recommend this book, and that you read or listen to the most recent edition, in my case that is the 2017 edition.

I Heard You Paint Houses

What I learned: What truly happened to Jimmy Hoffa. Something I have wanted to know for a good part of my life. Thought I have never, ever doubted he was, to use a euphemism, sleeping with the fishes, exactly how he got to that point was always the big question. Who did it? Why was it done? Where is the body? I now know this and you will also if you read this book.

I also learned exactly what happened to our beloved JFK, the who, how and why. I never believed the Warren Commission, and if you did, or do, please read this. That’s all I am going to say about that. I don’t want to spoil anything.

What I learned about the assassination of JFK angered me, made me shake with anger, and brought home to me just how filthy Politics and the people involved in them can be. Not all are, but some can be. I mourned all over again the loss of a great man who was ahead of his time.

I was 5 years old when JFK was murdered. I lived in a small (pop 116) town in KY on the border of TN. I came in the house to hear my racist father say “Someone finally killed that n __r(I refuse to type the rest of that derogatory work) lover.” I lost ALL respect for my father then and there, and I never regained it. He was a Minister – and taught us in church that we were all created equal, we were all children of God yet…. I can’t to this day abide a Hypocrite and I do everything within my life to love all people no matter their color, preferences or orientation.

This books contains the use of that N word a lot and my daughter objected to it. I was so proud of her. I explained to her that it was because of the times, and the ignorance of the people speaking, and that I disliked it as well. Its so hard for me to hear that word but it is used in this book during a certain time period, and you should know that in advance.

On to more positive aspects:

The author Charles Brandt does an excellent job of keeping dates, people and facts straight. Even listening to the audio book I never became confused as to who was being discussed, where the conversation was taking place or, perhaps most importantly what was being discussed.

One thing I have always heard about Jimmy Hoffa, and as a member of the working class of the USA, I have to agree with, was the good he did for the working class.

Without Jimmy Hoffa children would still be able to work at age 12 -for unlimited hours. We would be able to work unlimited hours without being compensated for overtime. We would not have insurance from our employers, and yes I know that now some do not, but that was taken away by Politicians, and weak union members.

There would be no prenatal or after birth time off – and so many more working ‘rights’ that we now expect would be absent from our lives.

Jimmy Hoffa was a stand up man. I always was told this, I always believed this, and I found nothing in this book to dissuade me from continuing to believe it. On the scales of life, he certainly weighed out on the side of good much more than bad. He lived to help make the lives of others better than what they were before.

So why 4 stars instead of 5? Documentation was not available, that I am aware of, from the author. He speaks of it, but if its available somewhere I missed it, and its entirely possible I did. Listening to an audiobook its easier to do. However there was not a separate download as there was with other audiobooks, with a website listing to view documentation.

If that had been available my review would have been 5 stars.

I have read anything and everything I can find about Jimmy Hoffa. I found this book to be the most informative, and I feel a sense of peace, finally, knowing what happened to Mr. Hoffa. May he rest in peace.

Ila in Portland, ME
Sept 29, 2017

View all my reviews

Random Acts of Silence

Something Stirs

One day, when my stepson was ten years old, he arrived home from school in tears. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that some older kids at school had cornered him, mocked him, beat him up, and called him a “fag”. One of them spit into his mouth. Why? Because he wore glasses. In telling me this story, my stepson seemed angry, not so much at the boys who had tormented him, but at himself. He referred to himself as “stupid” and “ugly”. And this is what bullying does: it shatters the confidence of children before they have even had a chance to fully develop it. Being so malleable and emotionally fragile at that age, they believe what they are told by their peers if they hear it often enough. Childhood is a minefield fraught with insecurity and uncertainty. We don’t yet know who we are…

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Worth reading, if you have the stomach for it.

If you are not familiar, Dana is an excellent author in her own right. I respect her for many reasons, and I enjoy her reviews.

Dana Stabenow

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In the early twenties the Osage Nation becomes rich on the oil buried beneath their land in Osage County, Oklahoma, and then white men begin marrying Osages and killing them and all their family members so they could run off with the cash. The Osage call it the Reign of Terror, those years between 1920 to 1926, although evidence shows that it probably started at least three years before and continued for some time afterward.

The subsequent investigation by a nascent FBI revealed that everyone was in on it, the coroners, the undertakers, the police, it was a conspiracy of silence all the way up to Congress, who in their ineffable insufferableness collude with these greedy, racist, murderous assholes by deeming the Osage unfit to manage their own money and naming some of the actual murderers as the Osages’ guardians. It takes Osage Mollie Burkhart until 1941 to get that…

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Is it true that Donald Trump has unusually small hands? If so, what is the evidence?

Is it true that Donald Trump has unusually small hands? If so, what is the evidence? by Simon Moore

Answer by Simon Moore:

In the Madam Tussaud’s wax museum in New York, there’s a bronze cast of Trump’s hand. It’s been there since 1997 when the museum took impressions of Trump for their waxwork model of him.

The cast shows that Trump’s hand is 7.25″ long, measuring from wrist to tip of the middle finger. The average length of a male’s hand in the USA is 7.61″ long, making Trump’s hand in the bottom 15th percentile. This means 85% of all American men (and indeed 33% of all American women) have bigger hands than Trump.

This statistic in itself is a little misleading in that it flatters Trump. Trump claims to be 6′3″ tall, making him significantly taller than the average American man (at 5′9″). the 7.6″ hand size is for average sized men. Compared to men of his own size, Trumps hands would be even smaller in comparison, down to the bottom 5th (perhaps even lower) percentile. By comparison, I’m also 6′3″ but my hand size is 9″.

You can even print out and measure your hand against the great man himself:

It’s a shocking indictment of current American politics that the level of discourse has dropped to that of the schoolyard. My willy’s bigger than yours!

Is it true that Donald Trump has unusually small hands? If so, what is the evidence?

April 2017 Audiobook Giveaway of The Sting of the Wild

I admire Justin for his willingness to offer up his own body for pain experiments.

Tantor Media

“Schmidt’s tales will prove infectiously engaging even to entomophobes.”
Publishers Weekly Starred Review

In The Sting of the Wild, entomologist Justin O. Schmidt takes us on a journey inside the lives of stinging insects, seeing the world through their eyes as well as his own. Read the full description.

“Not only does he explain his Schmidt Sting Pain Index, wherein he rates the pain of numerous stings on a scale of one to four, but he also relates the fascinating natural histories of these animals.” —National Geographic

________________________

How to Win This MP3-CD Audiobook

  1. Send an email to contests@tantor.com
  2. Put the word “Ouch” in the subject line.

Entries must be received by April 30, 2017. Open to US only.

________________________

Congratulations to Ray Sutton, winner of last month’s giveaway of The Cyanide Canary! Thank you to all that entered.

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FUNGOID

I have yet to be disappointed by anything this author has written. I don’t think you will either.

WILLIAM MEIKLE

There’s been a bit of chat around about FUNGOID in the past few days. Here’s some thoughts from me on how it came about.

When the end came, it wasn’t zombies, asteroids, global warming or nuclear winter. It was something that escaped from a lab. Something small, and very hungry.

In this one you’ll find a chunk of Newfoundland, a fireman, some nasty rain, a bit of real science, a lot of unreal science, some Canadians, many cigarettes, some trucks, boats and planes, and plenty of spores, mushrooms and rot.

It’s for fans of John Wyndham, William Hope Hodgson and H P Lovecraft, and is a wee homage to a lot of the things I’ve loved since childhood. As such, its origins come from several different life strands.

There’s something a lot of people don’t know about me: I used to be a botanist. And no, it doesn’t mean I…

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Meeting Author Joe Hill is a Pleasant Experience

I have met this person twice, he is extremely nice, gracious and if you ever get a chance to meet him don’t pass it up.

He lives in New England with his children. His most recent book is: NOS4A2 Kindle Edition on sale today -09-28-2015, at least at Amazon.  Eerie, a bit scary and worth your time to read.

He’s very tall and oh so very handsome. He’s on twitter at times and keeps a blog on Tumblr.

The first time I met Joe, he was on tour for “Horns” now a movie with Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter fame. Since my copy of the book was in my Sony e-reader he signed it and drew horns on the back of it. My daughter had a copy of “Twentieth Century Ghosts” and a couple of other things that he signed for her.  At that time he wasn’t traveling with keepers like some authors do, he stayed at the table until all the people got their autographs, chats, pics, questions answered and were happy.

The last time I met him my daughter wanted to have our pic taken with him and I demurred because I’m ashamed of my weight. He said to me “Everyone is beautiful, come to Hug Harbor” and reached out and pulled me into a hug along with my daughter. He had to bend at the knees because we barely make it to 5′ 2″ and he’s a foot taller than us.  Thank you for that Joe, my daughter has a memory to treasure.

Super Nice man, his mom and dad raised him right. His father showed up too, you might have heard of him: Stephen King,  and I have both of their autographs on a quilt block.

I made Joe a quilt block representing a part of the Book NOS4A2 and I made myself a matching one – his dad signed on the left side of mine, and Joe signed on the left. I wasn’t aware until later that they have a policy not to sign on the same anything – or I wouldn’t have asked. So I have something that is unique and that I treasure.

Joe is also famous for his excellent comic book series, what they call today graphic novels ‘Locke and Key’. I highly recommend this, and it can be read on a tablet. I got mine from https://www.comixology.com/